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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 11th November 2023

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from Down Royal, Wincanton & Aintree

Haslem Hotel Handicap Hurdle (Listed) 1.45
Palace Rock
Francis Casey holds the key to this Listed contest with Palace Rock. Fresh from a spin on the all-weather at Dundalk, he won’t mind the ease in the ground here, and has solid form to take into this handicap. The obvious danger is the useful Foxy Girl, but Henry de Bromhead’s mare has been off the track since her eighth place in the Dawn Run at Cheltenham back in March. Top weight Party Central seems to have lost his way a bit, so Palace Rock gets the nudge ahead of Foxy Girl

Ladbrokes Champion Chase (Grade 1) 2.20
Envoi Allen
Last year’s winner Envoi Allen returns to Down Royal to defend his title, though Gerri Colombe is sure to get plenty of support. Just about the outstanding Novice Chaser of last season, Gerri Colombe looks to make even more of an impact in the main division, starting here in a fascinating four-runner race. However, Ryanair Chase winner, Envoi Allen should strip fitter for his run in the PWC Champion Chase at Gowran park, so edges the vote over the jolly Chase (Grade 2) 2.55
Just the three lining up for this Grade 2 but that makes it an intriguing race. Emmet Mullins’s Getaway gelding should come on for the run at Galway last month, and having shown that he can act on this ground should have the measure of his two rivals here. Ash Tree Meadow is a smart sort, but wouldn’t like ground this deep over a sharp two and a half miles, while Visionarian is usually also campaigned on a better surface. No such worries for Feronily, so he gets the tick in a trappy affair


Boodles ‘Rising Stars’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) 1.50
Knappers Hill (nap)
Paul Nicholls’s smart hurdler won the Elite Hurdle over the minimum trip here last year, and can make it three from four on this track in this Novices’ Chase. His run at Chepstow last month should have blown out any cobwebs as he starts this novice chasing campaign, and proving that he acts on heavy ground augurs well for this Grade 2 contest. Horses for courses, so Knappers Hill is the one to beat

62nd Badger Beer Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) 2.25
Threeunderthrufive (nb)
He proved himself as a novice chaser last season, winning a brace of Grade 2’s at Doncaster and Warwick, so brings plenty of solid form to this Premier Handicap. He ended last season with a solid enough fourth in the Scottish Grand national at Ayr, so stamina is assured, which rules out any concerns on the deep going here. The brilliant front-running Frodon, last year’s winner has been a tremendous servant to connections, and another try at taking them all on from the front with the admirable Bryony Frost is sure to get this pair high on the shortlist. However, this isn’t Frodon’s ground, but his usual tactics can set things up for stablemate Threeunderthrufive, and he’s the one to beat

JenningsBet Elite Hurdle (Grade 2) 3.00
Another race that can go to Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls, this time with the exciting hurdler Rubaud. He’s now won five of his eight starts over timber, and although most of these have come on a quicker surface, he has form on soft ground so looks the one to beat. With form over his closest rival, Hansard, and West Balboa likely to run at Aintree, Rubaud has to be the one to follow for the Champion Trainer and is hard to oppose


BoyleSports Grand Sefton Handicap Chase 2.45
Cooper’s Cross
The chance is taken on Cooper’s Cross for the first race this season over the National Fences in the feature at Aintree. He was going well enough in the Topham Chase over course and distance in April before going down at the fifteenth after not getting a clear run at the fence. Cooper’s Cross did everything but win the Scottish Grand National at Ayr back in April, so won’t lack for stamina here. Probably aimed at this race, and each-way claims at the least

BoyleSports Acca Boost On Horse Racing Hurdle 3.20
Another small field so likely to be a tactical race in store, but Olly Murphy’s Brewin’upastorm is the one to follow here. With the undoubtedly talented West Balboa heading the ante-post markets, this race might just fall into the hands of the selection. Despite the top-weight, Brewin’upastorm won this race in 2021, and can go in again if coping with this ground. A trappy race, but Brewin’upastorm is the one to keep on side

The Mandarin

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